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Case Study

Trip Payne

When the solver comes to the assigned room, they are handed a piece of paper that they must read that explains the rules of the room: no note-taking devices can be brought in, they only have 15 minutes before they must leave (though they can then make another appointment for someone else on their team), and so on.  When they have agreed to the conditions, a wristband is put on them, and they enter the room.

Inside the room sits a member of Palindrome.  This person only responds to the solver if asked a question (explaining the "come in for questioning" line in the email). 

The room is very bare; aside from the most basic furnishings, there are a few items on the table, the most obvious of which is a locked case.

Through questioning, the solver determines that the answer to the puzzle is inside the case, and the way to open it is to determine the three-digit combination.  The best way to determine it is to find the seven numbers that are not in the combination; they are hidden in various fashions throughout the room, as follows:

2 – on the seat of the chair where the Palindrome member is sitting;

3 – written in invisible ink on the doily under the pitcher of water (an invisible ink pen with a UV light is available on the table);

4 – rolled up on a tiny piece of paper and hidden inside the barrel of a ballpoint pen on the table'

5 – hidden inside one of the blackboard erasers;

7 – in masking tape on the inside bottom of a pitcher of water;

8 – on the underside of the wristband on the solver's wrist;

9 – written in pencil along the side of the door jamb

When the solver tries the combination 601, the case opens, revealing 17 letter tiles.  If the solver never jostled the case, they will be in order, spelling the word ANTHROPOMORPHIZED.  (If the solver did jostle it, they will have to do a little extra work to figure out the solution.)